Youth Engaging Seniors

The Youth Engaging Seniors (YES) program is an intergenerational program that uses the transformational youth services of GDS. Both youth and elders have identified isolation and loneliness as major problems. Our goal is to awaken seniors’ joyful memories while expanding youth life skills. We know memories, emotions, and music are intertwined. The British Medical Journal Open has reported on the “promising effects” of music therapy in dementia patients. Using life soundtracks, life story work, and human connection, we help elders unlock joyful moments from their pasts.

ExcelGDS partners with schools and community-based organizations to conduct the program.. In preparation, the youth and volunteers are trained as Intergenerational Wellness Facilitators. This training gives them the proper skills to work with elders who have dementia. The youth visit senior centers and interact with the elders using the power of music and memories.